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  • Amy Mendillo for Providence Monthly

Neighbors Make Headway on Wickenden Issue

Neighbors, merchants, FPNA members, and leaders of several neighborhood groups packed the room at a mid-October meeting of the City Plan Commission to speak their minds about a controversial six-story development proposed for 269 Wickenden Street. The proposal, at six stories and 75 residential units, would dwarf the current streetscape, an FPNA-led contingent argued, cause problems with parking and deliveries, cripple local businesses, and destroy neighborhood character while opening the door to similar developments in the area.

Several local advocates supported the project, arguing that dense development is necessary in light of climate change and the urgent need for housing in RI. But FPNA members pointed to the 1,000 housing units already slated to be built on nearby parcels of the 195 Commission. “This project is very short-sighted,” commented neighbor Toyoko Schieferdecker. “It is going to be [occupied by] national chain stores.”

At the conclusion of the five-hour hearing, members of the CPC voted to grant general approval of the building proposal, but rejected a related request to waive a 20-foot rear setback requirement, thus compromising the developer’s ability to design a profitable project. “With the denial of a rear setback and the conditions attached to the Master Plan, we made significant headway,” said FPNA President Lily Bogosian. “I remain hopeful that our collaborative efforts will be successful in preserving Wickenden Street.”

Photo, Amy Mendillo


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